Media Release – 20 October 2015
New Strata Laws Set to Force People from their Homes
Today the Government’s Strata Schemes Development Bill passed through the NSW Lower House after the Government gagged debate and stopped the Greens and opposition to even speak to amendments.
The Bill is part of the Government’s overhaul of NSW strata laws. There has been strong opposition to the elements of the proposed legislation that deal with the collective sale or redevelopment of a strata scheme as it will allow the collective sale of a scheme with the support of just 75% of owners.
Greens spokesperson for Rental, Tenancy and Strata Jenny Leong MP, after being gagged from speaking to her amendments, voted against the Bill, saying that the Greens cannot support a Bill that will force people from their homes.
“We have been contacted by many community members who are extremely concerned by this proposed legislation. They are fearful because their home, which is a unit in a strata scheme, can be forcibly taken away from them if this becomes law.
“Many of them are older residents who, approaching retirement, invested in a property that would provide them with security through their later years. This legislation takes away that security.
“The Government is clearly concerned about the growing community opposition to these changes and moved to rush things through and gag adequate consideration of amendments.
“By 2040 half of Sydney's residents will live in strata - that will mean half of Sydney will be living without security - with the threat of being kicked out of their home hanging over them.
“While there are claims that owners will be well compensated by the developers pouncing on their properties, the reality is that many owners who are forced to sell will be priced out of their local area, and cut off from their communities and support networks.
“One argument used to defend this proposal is that it is in the interests of urban renewal, that older buildings will be replaced by newer, more sustainable developments. However there is no requirement that this has to be the aim of a redevelopment.
“There is no guarantee that the number of dwellings in a new development will be equal to or greater than the existing number of dwellings. Rather than add to housing stock, this legislation may open a door for the development of luxury penthouses that take the place of existing affordable housing.
“The big winners will be the developers who know that there are big profits to be made and have been pushing for this change.
“This was a shameful way to deal with significant reforms that will impact on so many in our community - The Greens will continue to fight this Bill when it enters the Legislative Council,” she said.
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